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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Olympic snub irks Abrosimova

Two months have done little to ease the sting and sense of abandonment for Svetlana Abrosimova.

The former UConn star has been represented her native Russia in international competitions dating back to the 1995 European Championship for Cadettes and there was no sense that Abrosimova was in danger of being dropped from the pool of players vying for the 12 spots on Russia's Olympic team.

Then without warning officials named the 20 players who would be heading to Russia's training camp and Abrosimova's name was absent from the list. The two-time Olympian was completely stunned at the turn of events.

Abrosimova addressed the situation before her Seattle Storm faced the Connecticut Sun on Sunday and it's clear that the pain and shock has yet to subside.

"Just the fact the way they did it ...," Abrosimova said. "It would be different if I did get a chance, I went to tryouts and I was worse than other players or I wasn't healthy that would be one thing but because they didn't give me a chance, they didn't tell me anything it was tough. I have been loyal to them since I was 17, I did have to chance a lot of things in my life to make it work and nobody really appreciated that. Another fact is it is one thing if you change the direction of your team. Last year we won the European championship so if
they would do it right after I would understand 'OK, we want to get the new, younger players' but nobody
changes teams before Olympics so it was some kind of politics, I don't know what is going on but it is
Russia so everything is possible."

One reason given for Abrosimova's omission is her diminished role and impact on the national team and in the EuroLeague.

OK, they have a point when it comes to her play the last couple of seasons with Russian powerhouse UMMC Ekaterinburg but when it comes to her national team play she has been a key player as recently as the 2011 European championships when she was sixth on the championship Russian squad in minutes played and averaged 5.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals. At the 2010 FIBA World Championships Abrosimova averaged 10.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.2 steals in 24.3 minutes so we're not exactly talking about the 11th or 12th player on the Russian squad.

"I was surprised," said Sue Bird, who has been Abrosimova's teammate in college at UConn, in the WNBA with Seattle and in Russia with Ekaterinburg. "Every country has their process and their committee but when they went from 25 to 20 and Svet wasn't on that list I thought that was extremely strange. I thought their reasoning was a little odd but everybody has their process. The obviously have their reasons but I don't really know what those reasons were."

So did Abrosimova see the writing on the wall or have any vibes that she was in danger of being left off Russia's Olympic squad?

"Not really. I talked to the coach two months ago and he said everything was good so something happened
along the way," Abrosimova said.

The only positive to come out of the situation is that Abrosimova was able to return to the WNBA. She recently signed with Seattle and saw limited action over the weekend when Seattle played New York and Connecticut.

"Right after that happened when I was told I was not going to be on the national team and the way it
happened, the way they did it obviously I was real upset when the whole thing happened," Abrosimova said. "The WNBA option came immediately into my mind because I realized I am going to have six months off with no basketball and nothing to do. To me it felt weird. I thought 'why waste time because I was in good shape, pretty healthy.' When I talked to Brian (Agler, Seattle's head coach), that was the team I really wanted to come back to and play anyways it was just a matter of time for me to finish my national team (duties)."

Abrosimova admits she feels more wanted and loved in the United States than in Russia so coming overseas has been a positive experience.

"It is better because here I am appreciated more, people still believe in me and are confident in me and my
abilities so obviously it helps you as a person," Abrosimova said. "Yes, you can be a confident person, believe in God and all things happen for a reason but it helps when other people believe in you too and give you a chance because obviously the Russians decided 'we don't want you anymore' without giving you a chance so that is tough."

Abrosimova has not set a timetable on when she plans on hanging up her basketball shoes only saying she may retire in "a couple more years."

"I still want to enjoy (basketball), when you work so hard for all of these years to get to this
level at some point you still want to get better but at the same time you do want to enjoy and help the
younger kids develop because there are a lot of people who helped me. Sometimes you meet somebody in high school or in college but there are always one of two people who came along who showed you how to prepare and help you to become a better player. I feel like that is I one of my purposes."  

Former UConn star Diana Taurasi hasn't played in a game for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury since May 26 because of a hip injury. Few people know Taurasi as well as Sue Bird, her former teammates at UConn so I asked Bird if she's confident that Taurasi will be able to play for the U.S. in the upcoming Olympics.

"I think she is OK," Bird said. "Sometimes this happens. You are athletes and you have to deal with
whatever is thrown your way. If anybody knows that it is Dee and I think she is going to be all right."


Anonymous Leonard said...

Hello Jim: We have tried multiple times to find an answer to this question and so far have not received a single response;
SYNtv is slated to carry the UCONN women's BB this coming season. Are they going to offer those games on the internet as did CPTV? I have tried SYNtv and the Courant and completely failed to receive any kind of reply.

10:52 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I spoke to Steve Raab of SNY in May shortly after the contract was given to them and he said

"We fully expect to offer a live streaming package across the country. I think one of the things for us, we are in a joint venture with MLB Advance Media which is also and there I would argue that there is nobody in this world that has more live games streaming experience than MLB Advanced Media. They do thousands of Major League Baseball games but also March Madness, all the games, the Glenn Beck Show. They bring a level of technology, a level of opportunity that I think (what) SNY streaming offering will bring that is second to none."

I am not sure what the fee will be for the service but I will be keeping in touch with the people at SNY and will post an update when it becomes available.

11:20 PM 

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